Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer

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Jesko von Puttkamer
Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer.jpg
Generalmajor of the Reichswehr von Puttkamer
Birth name Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer
Birth date 26 August 1876(1876-08-26)
Place of birth Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire
Death date 25 March 1959 (aged 82)
Place of death Wiesbaden, Hesse, West Germany
Allegiance  German Empire
 Weimar Republic
 National Socialist Germany
Service/branch War and service flag of Prussia (1895–1918).png Prussian Army
Reichskolonialflagge.png Schutztruppe
Iron Cross of the Luftstreitkräfte.png Imperial German Army
Freikorps Flag.jpg Freikorps
War Ensign of Germany (1921–1933).png Reichswehr
Balkenkreuz.jpg Heer
Years of service 1896–1943
Rank Generalleutnant z. V.
Battles/wars Campaigns in Kamerun
World War I
World War II
Awards Iron Cross
House Order of Hohenzollern
War Merit Cross
Relations ∞ 1917 Rosemarie Anna Christiane Karoline Georgine Auguste von Arnim

Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer (1876–1959) was a German officer of the Prussian Army, the Schutztruppe, the Imperial German Army, the Freikorps, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht, finally Lieutenant General of the Heer in World War II. He must not be confused with his relative Jesko Albert Eugen von Puttkamer (1855-1917), German colonial military chief and Governor of German Kamerun.

Career (chronology)

  • 1882: After private lessons in the parents' house, he attended the pre-school classes of the Realgymnasium in Trier
  • 1884 to 1888 Gymnasium in Metz, Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen
  • 1889 to 1890 Private lessons in Züllichau/Province of Posen
  • 1890 to 1891 Realgymnasium in Wollstein/Province of Posen
  • 1892 to 1894 Attended the military preparation institute (Militär-Vorbereitungs-Anstalt ) of the retired captain Plaß in Stettin
  • 1895 Preparatory institute (Vorbereitungsanstalt) of Dr. Fisher in Berlin
  • 29 May 1896 Joined the 1. Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 89 in Schwerin
  • 18 October 1897 2nd Lieutenant in the 12. Kompanie/III. Bataillon/1. Großherzoglich Mecklenburgisches Grenadier-Regiment Nr. 89
    • 1900 Transferred to the 8th Company
    • 1901 Transferred to the 6th Company
  • April 1902 At the seminar for oriental languages ​​(Haussa class) in Berlin
  • 6 October 1902 Transferred to the German Imperial Protection Forces in Kamerun under Oberst Franz Ludwig Wilhelm Mueller
  • 1 November to 31 December 1903 Adjutant and court officer of the command of the Schutztruppe in Kamerun
  • December 1903 transferred to Bamenda/Northwest Kamerun
  • Early 1904 Participated in the expedition against Congoa and in the fight against the Anyang uprising in the district of Ossidinge
  • 1905 to 1907 Participation in the southern expedition
    • September 1905 Briefly leader of the 5th company
  • May 1907 Orderly officer of Friedrich Franz IV., Großherzog von Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was visiting Togo and Kamerun together with hia Adolf Friedrich Albrecht Heinrich Herzog zu Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  • 31 December 1907 to 9 February 1909 Adjutant of the Imperial Government of Kamerun in Buëa under Governor Jesko Albert Eugen von Puttkamer
    • Jesko von Puttkamer was replaced in January 1906, placed on temporary retirement on 9 May 1907 and retired in 1908.
  • 30 September 1909 to 19 April 1911 Again adjutant of the Imperial Government of Kamerun in Buëa
  • 1911 District Manager in the hinterland (Kamerun)
  • 1912 Commander of the 6th company (Kamerun)
  • February 1913 For the purpose of taking over the administration in New Cameroon, the newly formed district of Mittel-Ssanga-Lobaye was occupied with the station in Mbaiki.
  • November 1913 to March 1914 Leader of an expedition against the Nguku
  • Summer 1914 On the return journey to Germany, he was caught by surprise when World War I broke out; after a detour via Brazil and Norway, he still manages to reach the Vaterland.
  • 5 October 1914 By A.K.O. (Allerhöchste Kabinettsorder) resigned from the Schutztruppe
  • 6 October 1914 Joined the 10. Rheinisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 161
  • 1 November 1914 Commander of the III. Bataillon/Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 215
    • continuously deployed on the Western Front
    • temporarily commanded to carry out special tasks relating to the Belgian Congo for the colonial administration at the General Command (Kolonialverwaltung beim Generalkommando) in Brussels
  • 2 August 1918 Commander of the III. Bataillon/Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 214
  • 1 October 1918 Deputy Commander of the Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 214
  • December 1918 March back to Rostock for demobilization
  • January 1919 Commander of the von Puttkamer Volunteer Battalion in Ludwigslust
  • 1 May 1919 Trasferred to the Reichswehr-Brigade 17 in Danzig
  • February 1920 Trasferred to the Reichswehr-Infanterie-Regiment 3/Reichswehr-Brigade 2 in Stettin
  • 1 October 1920 In the Staff of the II. (Hanseatisches) Bataillon/Infanterie-Regiment 6 in Lübeck
  • 1 January 1921 Company Commander in the Infanterie-Regiment 6 in Eutin
  • 26 March 1921 Garrison elder in Eutin
  • 1 April 1922 Commander of the training battalion of the 5. (Preußisches) Infanterie-Regiment in Greifswald
  • 7 May 1923 Commander of the I. Bataillon/5. (Preußisches) Infanterie-Regiment in Stettin
  • 1 February 1927 Transferred to the Berlin Command (headquarters or Kommandantur)
  • 1 March 1927 Commander of the Guard Regiment of the Berlin Command
  • 1 October 1929 Kommandant of the military training area Döberitz
  • 31 January 1932 Retirement
  • 1 October 1933 as a state protection officer at the disposal of the Reichswehr
    • Commander of the Reichswehr advertising office in Neustrelitz
  • 15 March 1935 renamed Commander of the military district command Neustrelitz (districts of Stargard and Prenzlau)
  • 30 June 1936 Again retired (age limit)
  • 1 July 1938 Placed at disposal (z. V.) of the Wehrmacht
  • 26 August 1939 Commander of an Officer POW Camp or Offizierslager (Oflag II A Prenzlau)
  • 6 June 1940 Commander of an Officer POW Camp or Offizierslager (Oflag II C Woldenberg/Neumark)
  • 21 October 1940 Commander of the prisoners of war in the Wehrkreis V
    • 21 August 1941 Commander of the prisoners of war in the Wehrkreis XVIII
  • 1 June 1942 Führerreserve
  • 31 August 1942 Mobilization lifted
  • 30 April 1943 At disposal (z. V.) provision lifted


Jesko von Puttkamer was living in Neustrelitz when the Red Army invaded. Only the fact that his son Jesco von Puttkamer had joined Russophile NKFD in Russian captivity kept him from being arrested and dragged east. The Generalleutnant a. D. stayed outspoken against the Stalinist terror, the killings, the Gulags and the mass raping. A friend warned him of an impending arrest by the NKVD in 1952, and he knew, it was time to flee, which he did in last minute, soon reaching his goal Wiesbaden. His vast ethnographic collection was stolen by the communists, but at least the City Council of Neustrelitz made it available to the Institute for Ethnology at the Humboldt University in Berlin.


Son Jesco
Nikolaus Heinrich Walter Wedig von Below, daughter Bodild's first husband.

Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer was the son of Major a. D. Eugen Franz Ludwig Jesko von Puttkamer (1843–1894) and his wife (∞ 23 October 1875) Klara Henriette Marie, widowed Jacobi ( Premierleutnant Jacobi), née Braumüller (b. 6 November 1846 in Berlin; d. 26 March 1930 in Eberswalde). He had two brothers:[1]

  • Egon Max Richard Jesko (1884–1939), Leutnant der Reserve and farmer
  • Willy Franz Jesko (b. 5 November 1886 in Metz, Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen; d. 18 November 1916), Leutnant a. D.[2]

From 1928 to 1953, he was chairman of the von Puttkamer family association (Vorsitzender des von Puttkamer’schen Geschlechtsverbandes), then honorary chairman. He made a special contribution to the preservation and revival of the lineage association.


On 8 August 1917, Hauptmann von Puttkamer married his fiancée Rosemarie Anna Christiane Karoline Georgine Auguste von Arnim (b. 15 October 1877 in Schönberg, Mecklenburg; d. 18 March 1943 in Bublitz, Pommern), with whom he had two children:

  • Jesco Carl Eugen Hans Feodor Imbert Holger Gustav (1919–1987), officer, journalist, diplomat
    • ∞ 1942 journalist Mary Hahne (1920–1986), o¦o 1954; ∞ 1954 publicist and translator Ulrike Piper (1923–2005); ∞ 1975 Marianne (b. 1924), divorced von Maltzahn (Ekhard Freiherr von Maltzahn) and Haack (Dr. Hans Erich Haack), née von Kessel; two daughters from the first (Imogen, b. 1942, and Ileana, b. 1950) and two from the second marriage.[3]
      • Jesco graduated from Gymnasium in Neustrelitz (Abitur am Carolineum) in 1936 and then joined the Wehrmacht. With the Kavallerie-Regiment 5 and later as a 1st lieutenant in the Panzerwaffe, he took part in World War II. He served as an orderly officer to the commander of the 24th Panzer Division, Major General Arno von Lenski, and was awarded the Iron Cross II and I Class. In 1943, he was taken prisoner of war by the Red Army near Stalingrad. During this period, Puttkamer joined the "anti-fascist" League of German Officers in the National Committee of Free Germany (NKFD) in 1944. After his release from captivity in 1947, he moved to West Berlin and worked as a journalist for various newspapers. In 1948, he published a book in which he took a very critical look at the NKFD. From 1954, he wrote as a military-political commentator for the "Süddeutsche Zeitung". Puttkamer joined the SPD in 1957, and the following year he became foreign policy editor for the party newspaper “Vorwarts”. In July 1958 he became acting editor-in-chief, from the beginning of 1959 regular editor-in-chief. From 1971, he was Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Israel, then in Yugoslavia (1975), Portugal (1979) and Sweden (1981). After retiring in 1984, he lived in Oberaudorf, Upper Bavaria, and published occasional guest commentaries in "Vorwarts".
  • Bodild Marie Elisabeth Wilhelmine Johanna Henriette (b. 23 February 1922 in Eutin)
    • ∞ 1944 Nikolaus Heinrich Walter Wedig von Below (1897–1970; it was his second marriage); o¦o 1946
      • Wedig von Below from Saleske, Kreis Schlawe, Pommern was a landowner (Gutsbesitzer, Herr auf Saleske und Gohren) and veteran of WWI as Oberleutnant. On 11 May 1924, he married Claire Eveline Käthe Ehrengard von Knoblauch (b. 21 July 1897). He won many honorary awards on horseback (Herrenreiter). In WWII, he was reactivated as a officer of the Wehrmacht. Allegedly, Bodild and he had two children.
    • ∞ 1948 Ulrich Friedrich Bauer (1916–2001)
      • Bauer joined the Wehrmacht 1935, visited the war school in Potsdam for two years, fought in the Poland Campaign as well in the Battle of France as adjutant in a Panzer regiment and was trasferred to the Eastern Front in 1941. In 1943/44, he visited the war academy in Hirschberg, became general staff officer and Ib of the 20. Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment, was promoted to Major i. G. in August 1944 and served from September 1944 until the end of the war as Quartiermeister of the XXXXVIII. Panzerkorps and the General Staff of the Army (Generalstab des Heeres). From May 1945 to 5 March 1947, he was a british POW. On 1 March 1948, he joined the Organisation Gehlen under Reinhard Gehlen, which would become the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) on 1 April 1956. He received the Verwaltungsnummer (V-Nr.) V-23.200 and at first served with counterintelligence (anti-Communism) and led a department (Referat 40/III, 1, since October 1950 40/KP, since 4 January 1954 Referatsleiter 122M). Mid-1954 he served with the counter reconnaissance (Referat 128 „Beschaffung, Sichtung und Auswertung“ auf dem III-Gebiet). It was Bauer who led the BND delegation (eight men) to the USA (disguised as a study trip) in autumn 1956. His family lived in Pullach (Building #29, Sonnenweg 13). The early BND employees lived isolated and secretive on the site (Camp Nikolaus, former Reichssiedlung Rudolf Heß). There were schools, a kindergarten, shops, a hairdresser and a tailor. BND-Oberst Bauer, who also later led the departments "intelligence gathering rest of the world" and "intelligence gathering western world" (I E), retired on 1 October 1974 and died on 1 May 2001.


  • 29.5.1896 Avantageur (Officer Candidate)
  • 17.12.1896 Fähnrich (Officer Cadet)
  • 18.10.1897 Sekondeleutnant (2nd Lieutenant)
    • 1.1.1899 rank re-named Leutnant
  • 27.1.1908 Oberleutnant (1st Lieutenant)
  • 1.10.1913 Hauptmann (Captain)
  • 18.12.1920 Major with Rank Seniority (Rangdienstalter) from 1.10.1920
  • 1.1.1927 Oberstleutnant
  • 1.11.1929 Oberst (Colonel)
  • 1.2.1932 Charakter als Generalmajor
  • 1.10.1933 Charakter als Generalmajor a. D. (Landesschutzoffizier)
  • 15.3.1935 Charakter als Generalmajor (Ergänzungsoffizier)
  • 1.7.1938 Charakter als Generalmajor (Ergänzungsoffizier) z. V.
  • 1.9.1940 Generalmajor z. V.
  • 1.4.1942 Generalleutnant z. V. (z. V. = zur Verfügung = at disposal)

Awards and decorations

Bernhard Wilhelm Eugen Jesko von Puttkamer, Rangliste 1931.jpg